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For Your Consideration: Best Albums of 2013 so far

It’s been a while. I’ve been listening to record after record, album after album. Hours upon hours worth of music, some good, some bad, nearly going mad, just trying to cobble together something resembling a list of some of the best music of the year so far. I’m sure by the end of the more will be added in, some will be taken out, and choices will be moved around; all depending on my mood. Anyway, here’s what I believe to be the best music of the year so far.

10.  We Are the 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace and Love- Foxygen

Foxygen taps into multiple generations of music and brings them forth into the 21st century. Foxygen takes its cues from all forms of retro rock and injects a large dose of swagger into them. Ultimately, providing a fun, trippy jam.

9. Monomania- Deerhunter

With Deerhunter, you are always bound to get something different and unique. Monomania is a crazed mix of garage rock with the ambient sound of earlier albums. The result is an almost DIY frantic noise rock sound combined with the hazy, dreamlike state. The sounds of roaring engines and thrashing guitars meet dreamwaves creating quite the listening experience.

 8. Silence Yourself- Savages

Silence Yourself is shaping up to be the debut album of year. The post-punk band’s debut is ferociously satisfying, one with an uncompromising vision that grabs you with its unrelentless sound. This air of unflinching attitude provides a rock-strong foundation for the album that generates certain confidence of what they are delivering is nothing but greatness. And it is good, very good.

7.  Evil Friends- Portugal. The Man

With Evil Friends, Portugal. The Man has decided to change the pace of things…a much faster pace. The band has joined forces with the superstar producer Danger Mouse to create a hyper-kinetic blast of an album. Mouse’s touches can be heard throughout, with hints of Danger Mouse produced albums like mid-period Black Keys and Broken Bells, but the band doesn ‘t stray from its psychedelic pop roots. Standouts include “Evil Friends”, “Modern Jesus”, and “Atomic Man”.

6. Once I Was an Eagle- Laura Marling
At only 23-years-old, Marling has released a sprawling album that is 16 songs long, which could have crushed itself under its ambitions or could have easily fallen prey to being overwrought. Instead, Marling’s ambitions deliver a beautiful album and enter her into a new stage of artistic maturity. She is still early in her career and it just keeps getting better
5. David Bowie- The Next Day
There is always a sense of worry and fear when an old rocker decides to make a new album. Worry that old age has finally caught up to them and they are far past their prime, no longer able to to deliver like in their youth. This is not the case with Bowie and his latest, The Next Day. Bowie makes his thunderous re-entrance with the bombastic titular track “The Next Day” and doesn’t let up for the rest of the album. The Next Day is almost like a prism of Bowie’s storied and varied music career. In one way The Next Day can be seen as a look back to Bowie’s greatest moments but he takes his past and spins it into something new.
4. The Terror- The Flaming Lips

With their last few albums, it seems that The Flaming Lips were trying to break new ground for weird, which is saying something considering that it’s the Flaming Lips.With their last album, The Flaming Lips and Heady Fwends, gathered quite the eccentric group of guests while the one before that,  Embryonic, was an outlandish trip. With The Terror, The Flaming Lips do not dial down the weirdness, but definitely have released their most accessible since Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots. Instead of out-of-control noise, The Terror is a controlled, melancholic, atmospheric album. It is an apocalypse event that can only be brought to you by The Flaming Lips.

3.  Trouble Will Find Me- The National

Sure, they showed the world that they can play the same song for six straight hours but they can also still release great, new music. With Trouble Will Find Me, The National has once again proved the old cliche that “if it ain’t broke….”. The band neither reinvents the wheel, nor does it break any new, unbelievable ground with their latest, but what The National do is create a solid album

 2. Modern Vampires of the City- Vampire Weekend

Or Vampire Weekend grows up. With Modern Vampires, Vampire Weekend has released their most mature and best album yet. Their bouncy energy of the past still remains as evident in “Diane Young” but the album is filled with the band hitting new highs. Tracks like “Hannah Hunt” and “Unbelievers” provide a much more somber experience than previous albums. It also shows that the band has grown for the better.

1. Random Access Memories- Daft Punk

Easily the most anticipated album of the year shattered most of the expectations that were had for it. The bots had decided to take a much more unorthodox approach with their latest album. With looking toward the future of electronic dance music, Daft Punk has decided to harken back to the past to find a new sound. Blending late 70’s/early 80’s disco, funk, and synth pop with EDM, Daft Punk could have easily created a well-produced homage but instead have made one of the best albums of the year. Not to mention the funkiest and funniest. Tracks like the single “Get Lucky” and “Lose Yourself to Dance” are intoxicating. While songs like the Paul Williams co-starring “Touch” (with shades of the Williams’s cult film Phantom of the Paradise as an influence) and the interview/electronica hybrid “Giorgio by Moroder” provide highly immersive experiences of pure music goodness.

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